In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fashion was a useful means of knowing who you were dealing with. Did you wear black? Then you were probably rich or in mourning. Was your hoop skirt enormously wide? Then you had enough money to hang it wide - and in the meantime your slim waist also came out fine. Did you not have a slim waist? Then there was a shaping corset in which you were constricted, pregnant or not, to fit into the silhouette of that moment.